Baltimore’s Henry Urrutia connects for his first major league hit, a run-scoring single in the third inning that gave the Orioles a 5-0 lead en route to a 7-4 victory at Texas. (LM Otero/Associated Press)

As the Baltimore Orioles open up the unofficial second half of the season, they know that the Texas Rangers could be one of the teams they end up battling for a possible playoff spot.

So even though the three games here won’t be as magnified as their division games down the stretch, they are still incredibly important.

And on Saturday night, the Orioles circled the bases for seven runs in the first three innings on their way to a 7-4 win in front of an announced 41,660 at Rangers Ballpark.

With the win, the Orioles (55-43) are a season-high 12 games over .500 and clinched their first series win here since July 8-11, 2010. For now, they have a better record than the Rangers (54-45).

Baltimore has won six of its past seven games overall and four straight against Texas. The Orioles have won 26 games on the road, second most in the majors behind the 27 road games the Rangers have won.

After three innings, the Orioles had not only plated seven runs, but each starter had reached base and all but one had a hit.

That included Henry Urrutia, who went 1-for-4 in his major league debut with an RBI single in the third inning.

Baltimore was 7-for-12 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, recording as many hits in that situation as over the previous five games combined.

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez held the Rangers scoreless over his first six innings, recording his eighth straight quality start, the longest streak of any Orioles starter this season. Over the past six games, Baltimore starters own a 3.46 ERA and have 23 strikeouts against only eight walks.

Gonzalez (8-3) recorded his sixth win in his last seven decisions and has allowed one or fewer runs in each of his last three starts. Jim Johnson allowed two singles in the ninth inning before wrapping it up for his major league-leading 35th save.

The Orioles chased Rangers starter and former Baltimore farmhand Ross Wolf from the game before he was able to record an out in the third inning, pouring seven runs across the plate on nine hits. Eleven of the 16 batters Wolf faced reached base.

With Baltimore already leading 3-0, Adam Jones led off the third inning with his 20th home run of the season, taking a first-pitch delivery into the center-field berm. The blast gave Jones his third straight 20-homer season.

The Orioles scored four runs in the inning, including Urrutia’s first major league hit and RBI on a bases-loaded single past first baseman Mitch Moreland.

Brian Roberts followed with a two-run single, but was caught trying to take second base after retreating to first. On the next play, Urrutia was thrown out at home tagging after Nate McLouth’s flyout to left.

— Baltimore Sun